November 28, 2017

Roundup: The Weed Killer that Kills People

By Jonathan Damashek

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Monsanto, the company that manufactures the weed and grass killer Roundup, is being sued for failure to warn consumers about their increased risk of developing Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and other forms of cancer after using this product. Monsanto discovered glyphosate, Roundup’s main ingredient, in 1970 and first began marketing and selling Roundup to the public in 1974. By 2015, Roundup was producing $15 billion annually in global sales.

Over 250 million pounds of glyphosate are now sprayed each year on crops, lawns, sidewalks, public and private parks, and golf courses. The use of Roundup has increased in recent years due to the expansion of genetically modified (GMO) crops designed to resist the killing power of glyphosate products. Monsanto has earned $4.8 billion in revenue from its sale of Roundup in the United States.

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a World Health Organization body, announced in 2015 that glyphosate-based herbicides are probable carcinogens. Nevertheless, Roundup has never been recalled, nor has Monsanto lessened its aggressive sales campaign for this product. Plaintiffs in numerous lawsuits against Monsanto allege that the company chose profits over human life by deliberately concealing from the public Roundup’s likelihood of causing cancer.

The cancer most associated with Roundup usage is Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL). As explained by the Lymphoma Research Foundation, any type of lymphoma occurs when lymphocytes, the white blood cells that help protect the body from infection and disease, begin behaving abnormally. Lymphoma may develop in numerous parts of the body, including the lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, blood, or other organs. Any lymphoma that does not involve Reed-Sternberg cells is classified as NLH. There are over 61 types of NHL, some of which are more common than others. Common NHL symptoms include the following:

  • Swelling of lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Lack of energy
  • Itching

Most people treated for NHL receive some form of aggressive chemotherapy, radiation therapy, biologic therapy, or a combination of these. Bone marrow or stem cell transplantation may sometimes be used. NHL is not curable at the present time, but some patients live for 20 years or more following their initial diagnosis. One thing to be aware of is that a patient’s response to treatment can change over time; what worked at first may be ineffective later on.

Other Cancers Associated With Glyphosate

Other cancers, too, have been linked to Roundup and glyphosate, including these:

  • Large Diffuse B-cell
  • Follicullar Lymphoma
  • Cutaneous T-Cell
  • Anapalastic T-cell
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
  • Small Lymphocytic Lymphoma
  • Mantle Cell Lymphoma
  • Primary Central Nervous System (CNS) Lymphoma
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Leukemia

These diseases can be extremely painful and treating them can deplete lifelong savings and retirement, often costing tens of thousands of dollars and leaving a family in debt.

Deliberate Cover-up?

As stated, the IARC determined in 2015 that glyphosate-based herbicides like Roundup are probable carcinogens. Time Magazine, however, recently reported that U.S. and European regulators have found just the opposite. CBS This Morning reported this summer that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated in 2002 that glyphosate does not pose a cancer risk to humans. The EPA is currently in the process of re-evaluating glyphosate, a standard procedure it goes through every 15 years with regard to all chemicals.

Not surprisingly, Monsanto agrees with the EPA and vehemently denies that Roundup does not cause cancer. However, it has come to light that the former chairman of the EPA’s Cancer Assessment Review Committee offered to stop an independent review of glyphosate’s carcinogenic properties.

In addition, CNN reported in May 2017 that recently released court documents appear to show that Monsanto mounted a massive effort to discredit the IARC report before it was even released. Emails have come to light showing that Monsanto executive William F. Heydens sent internal emails to Donna Farmer, a Monsanto toxicologist, saying that Monsanto should use inhouse “experts” to ghostwrite several sections of its own proposed favorable report on glyphosate. Outside scientists would then “just edit & sign their names so to speak.”

Roundup Lawsuits

The Huffington Post reported in June 2017 that more than 1,100 plaintiffs have lawsuits pending in state and federal courts against Monsanto. Many of these have been combined into multidistrict federal court litigation.

One recent lawsuit by six consumers alleges that Monsanto has been falsely promoting Roundup as uniquely safe when in actuality it can have profound harmful impacts on human gut bacteria critical to good health. Unlike the Roundup cancer lawsuits, this suit is different. The plaintiffs are not claiming physical injury. Instead they are alleging violations of trade and business practices laws. They also allege that Monsanto and distributor Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. were “unjustly enriched” when the plaintiffs purchased and paid for more Roundup products than they would have had it not been for Roundup’s false promotions.

While it common for agricultural families and workers, and those frequently exposed to Roundup to be at highest risk, the attorneys at Hecht Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. are  investigating and representing individuals and families throughout the U.S. who have used Roundup in their homes, gardens, landscaping, and backyards. Victims are exposed to glyphosate from breathing it while spraying, mixing or cleanup, or through drinking water or eating food contaminated with it.

Hecht Kleeger & Damashek P.C., is currently accepting Roundup-provoked injury cases in all 50 states. If you or a loved one was diagnosed with lymphoma after being in contact with this product, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation.